When • •
Israel's Front Man
Mark Regev shares impassioned message at AIPAC fund-raiser.
Special to the Jewish News
ark Regev isn't just another talking head.
He's our talking head.
As spokesman for the Embassy of Israel in
Washington, D.C., Regev can turn up on
Fox, MSNBC or CNN at almost any hour of the day or
night to take questions and spar with such Palestinian
luminaries as Hanan Ashrawi or PLO spokesman Abdel
On March 12, he turned up at a fund-raiser for the
American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the
Franklin home of Lori and Robert Nusbaum. But even in
front of a friendly audience of 200 AIPAC supporters,
Regev was just as impassioned, forthright and articulate as
he shared the messages he tries to get across when speaking
to a national audience.
Introduced by event co-chair Linda Stulberg as "Israel's
weapon of mass instruction," Regev covered a lot of
ground in front of a rapt audience.
"I want people to understand that Israelis are real people
trying to deal with a real problem of terrorism," he said.
Explaining that it is important to come across "nice,
moderate, cool, calm and collected," he doesn't want view-
ers to say there are "two foreigners yelling at each other, a
pox on both of their houses."
One of Regev's frustrations is the prevalence of the idea
that there is a cycle of violence in the Middle East.
Not so, he says.
"There is one side trying to kill as many innocent civil-
ians as they can, and the other side is trying to defend
itself. That is the simple truth."
Referring to the March 5 bus bombing in Haifa that
killed at least 17 people, including many schoolchildren, he
called such attacks "terrorism in the purest and most evil
form that there is."
"It's not us saying it. It's them that say it after every
attack," he says, noting that as an Israeli, he takes it per-
sonally. "To Hamas and Hezbollah, my 16-month-old
child is a legitimate target."
In contrast, Regev insists, "in the [Israeli army], it is very
clear, you make every effort not to harm Palestinian civilians."
Israel Is Ready
With a possible war with Iraq on everyone's mind, Regev
acknowledged that Israel is taking the threat "extremely
seriously," asking rhetorically, "How do you deter someone
when this is his last game?"
In spite of the worries and unknowns, Regev says Israel
has three tiers of defense against a missile threat from Iraq,
and is "better prepared than ever before."
"There is an American commitment to us, and we know
it is serious," Regev says of the first tier.
The second is the Arrow missile jointly developed by
Israel and the United States to intercept incoming missiles
well before they reach Israeli airspace, and the third tier is
the new generation of Patriot missiles.
"The problem is, when dealing with the Scud threat,
we're dealing with the threat of 10 years ago. What can
[Saddam] do to surprise us?" Regev asked, mentioning
Iraq's low-flying drones that can spray biological agents as
well as terrorism and "mega-terrorism" against the political,
financial and military infrastructure.
Dealing regularly with journalists of all stripes, Regev is
more concerned about their professionalism than their bias.
Noting that in the Arab countries and Palestinian areas
"everyone follows the party line or else," journalists need to
report as they did from the former Soviet Union where it
was their job to go beyond the party line.
From the pages of the Jewish News
from this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
and 60 years ago.
Southfield-Lathrup High School is
phasing out its Hebrew language
program due to lack of interest.
Milton Marwil is elected president
of the Hebrew Free Loan
Rabbis Avraham Shapiro and
Mordehai Eliahu won substantial
victories in the chief rabbinate
elections to become Israel's
Ashkenazic and Shephardic chief
Members of the six Reform con-
gregants in the Detroit area will
hold a combined religious service
to honor Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise,
founder of the American Reform
A new organization, the National
Bar Mitzvah Club, the first organ-
ization of its kind in the U.S., is
formed to enable Jewish youth to
make special pilgrimages to Israel.
"Their job is to be good journalists, their job is to get it
right," insists Regev. "My concern is not that they are not
pro-Israel, but that they're not professional."
Eric Bronstein of Huntington Woods is part of AIPAC's
new Young Leadership Board in metro Detroit. He found
Regev to be right on target, and the talk further cemented
his confidence in AIPAC.
"I had this great frustration to do something [to help
Israel]," Bronstein says. "It's really inspirational to hear
from the Israeli government that [AIPAC's political sup-
port] is exactly what they need from us, that this is the way
to make a difference."
Marla Zwas of Southfield, who together with Howard
Jacobson and Linda and Bob Stulberg co-chaired the event,
told the group that "halfway around the world someone is
planning how to destroy Israel, and someone is planning
how to plant a bomb. That keeps me motivated to act on
behalf of Israel here."
Contracts were signed in New
York for construction of the first
youth hostel in Israel. It will be
dedicated in the memory of
Louise Waterman Wise, founder
and lifetime president of the
American Jewish Congress
Rabbi Alfred L. Friedman of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek of
Lansing will be honored by the
members of the sisterhood at a
testimonial dinner on his 10th
anniversary in the rabbinate.
Bessie Spalter, a former member of
the staff of the Jewish Social Service
Bureau of Detroit, is now serving
in the British Isles as an American
Red Cross director.
— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El